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The following is a list of common questions CIT staff is asked. Please note that these are our recommendations only, and that there is no single answer that applies to everyone. Your technology experience, field of study, study habits, financial situation, and the location of your residence will all play a part in deciding what is best for you.

If you'd like to see some specific models that we recommend, visit this page.

If you have more questions, you can e-mail or call us at 616-395-7670.

Do I need to bring a computer to Hope?

Nearly 100% of Hope students own their own computer.
Hope has 18 general use computer labs with just over 200 computers and each lab has a laser printer. Several more department specific labs bring the total of lab computers to more than 300.

Should I buy a laptop or a desktop?

The vast majority of Hope students own a laptop. There are many advantages to a laptop such as the smaller size and portability.

One thing to keep in mind is that while laptops are convenient for you to transport, that also makes them a target for theft. We encourage everyone with laptops to avoid leaving them unattended, always lock your residence hall door when you leave, and also to use a laptop lock ($20).

Windows or Mac?

All of Hope's public computer labs run Windows and most faculty have a Windows computer in their offices. Therefore, you may want to bring a Windows system for the greatest compatibility. However, there are many Macs on campus too, and there is a great deal of compatibility between Windows and Mac.

What make or brand should I buy?

Hope College buys HP computers for desktops and Lenovo computers for laptops. We've found both to be high quality, reliable systems at a decent value. Of course, there are several other good manufacturers as well, including Dell, and Apple. Our experience has been that purchasing from a large, name brand company provides for a more reliable, more easily serviced system. In general, we advise against locally-built and "home built" computers, as they're not always fully tested for compatibility, and can present service and support problems down the road. If you'd like to see some specific models that we recommend, visit this page.

"How much" computer do I need? What specifications?

In general, your time at Hope won't require you to have a "high end" computer in order to complete your studies. The most popular use of personal computers are for Internet access (including e-mail), typing papers, and creating presentations. Almost any new computer sold today will more than suffice for these tasks.

So what about the numbers? How much is enough? Here's some general technical recommendations:

  1. Get at least (4GB) of RAM.
  2. For Windows computers, there's often a choice between several processors. The Intel I-series (i3, i5, i7) is a good choice.

Connecting to the Internet: Wireless Ethernet or wired?

All residence halls and academic buildings provide ONLY wireless internet access. Laptops, tablets, and most other mobile devices will already have the necessary equipment included. If you have a desktop computer, gaming console, or other equipment that you're planning to connect to the Internet, you'll want to be sure it has the ability to use wireless. Depending on the device, you may need to acquire a wireless adapter.

Click here for details on how to access the wireless network at Hope College. You will need to provide your Hope College email username and password to proceed.

What programs should I have installed?

Hope provides hundreds of computers in labs for student use. Some are setup for basic Internet access and word processing. Others are more specialized, with high-end (and expensive!) programs tailored to specific disciplines. Most students use their personal computers for writing papers, reading e-mail, surfing the Internet, and for entertainment. When the need arises for a specific program for class, they'll go to the appropriate lab where that program is installed. That way, they don't have to buy the program themselves and have it take up space on their computer. For this reason, the one suite of programs that we recommend for personal computers is Microsoft Office. All of the computer labs have these programs, as do all professors' computers (Windows or Mac). Using these programs will be the most seamless way to submit assignments, correspond and collaborate with others, and move files from one computer to the other. Microsoft Office is available for free to enrolled Hope College students, staff, and faculty. Check out our page on Office 365 for more information.

Antivirus software is essential. Microsoft provides free antivirus software to all Windows-based computers. Take a look at our anti-virus information page for more details.

For Macs, we recommend Malwarebytes for Mac, which is free to run manually, which is recommended to do at least once a month.

Do I need a printer?

This is entirely a matter of personal preference. Each residence hall has a black-and-white laser printer in its lab (usually located in the basement) and students can setup the computer in their room to print to it. Click here for instructions. There is no cost for this, but there can be a bit of a walk to the printer. For more convenient printing or color capability, some students choose to bring their own color inkjet printer for their room.

Still Confused? More questions?

Feel free to e-mail (, call (616-395-7670), or stop in at CIT (Durfee Hall, 110 East 10th Street). We're always happy to answer questions and help you figure out what will work best.


© Hope College | Computing and Information Technology | 110 E. 10th St. | Holland, MI 49423 | phone: 616.395.7670 | fax: 616.395.7807